Republican candidate Paul Ryan beat Vice President Joe Biden, 48 per cent to 44 per cent, in the vice presidential debate Thursday night, according to a nationwide poll conducted by CNN right after the debate. While that number is close — the results are within the poll’s 5-point margin of error — Ryan gained a more significant lead among debate-watchers on the questions of likeability and clarity.
The Wisconsin Congressman led Biden by 10 points (51-41 per cent) in likeability, and held a 50 per cent to 41 per cent advantage on the question of which candidate expressed himself better. Significantly, Ryan also led slightly on the question of which candidate is more in touch with the problems of everyday voters.
The silver lining for Democrats however, was that 55 per cent of debate-watchers thought Biden did better than they had expected. Moreover, fully half of those surveyed by CNN said the VP faceoff did not make them more likely to vote for either presidential candidate.
But the bottom line is that vice presidential debates rarely have much effect on voters, and Thursday’s showdown was likely no exception. The real goal for both campaigns was to pick up momentum for their presidential candidates going into the second debate and the home stretch of the election cycle. In that regard, this poll indicates that both Ryan and Biden were relatively successful in shoring up support with their respective bases.
A CBS poll taken online after the debate Thursday showed Biden leading among undecided voters, 50 per cent to Ryan’s 31 per cent.
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